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Deep Fractions Learning: A Core Curriculum of Games, Inquiry, and Collaboration

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 4R44GM130162-02
Agency Tracking Number: R44GM130162
Amount: $1,114,264.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 500
Solicitation Number: PA18-591
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-03-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-02-28
Small Business Information
Staten Island, NY 10301-4125
United States
DUNS: 078363101
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (347) 552-1272
Business Contact
Phone: (347) 552-1272
Research Institution

Project Summary/AbstractThe transition to remote learning for US schools and districts due to COVID-19 has been
fraught with challenges for administrators, educators, students, and families. School and district
administrators are scrambling to find hardware and software solutions that will work for as many
of their families as possible. Educators are using various new technologies for the first time with
little training and support. Families are balancing work and life demands with trying to manage
their children’s learning. Even with normal classroom instruction, struggling learners often do not
benefit from adaptive learning technologies as much as their peers, and these technologies can
exacerbate the achievement gap in normal times (Steenbergen-Hu andamp; Cooper, 2013). During this
period of remote learning, many of these struggling learners lack self-efficacy, motivation,
hardware/internet connectivity, or an appropriate environment for concentrated work, which will
inevitably lead to further learning loss. Before COVID-19, there was already an enormous deficit
in students’ understanding of fractions. Research shows that students who start middle school
with poor understanding of fractions are more likely to struggle with later mathematics (Siegler
et al., 2012). In particular, the NIH SEPA program has identified PreK-8th grade math as an
area of high programmatic interest (FOA PAR-20-153), because it is such an essential
component of being prepared for careers in STEM and health.With this administrative supplement to our original project, Deep Fractions Learning, we
propose to adapt the curriculum for use in remote/blended learning contexts and test how the
curriculum can be implemented in various settings. More specifically, we will ensure the
curriculum software components are accessible using a wide variety of devices, including
smartphones, Chromebooks, and low-end tablets. We will adapt the teacher dashboard to help
teachers plan across a variety of learning environments: virtual, in-person, and blended. We will
use mixed methods to evaluate how teachers use the curriculum in-person, remotely, or in a
blended model. With the administrative supplement, we will be able to conduct a comparison
group study, where we evaluate the impact of coaching on teachers’ preparedness to teach
remotely.Outcomes. The intervention will encourage four direct outcomes for students, namely
improved: 1) conceptual understanding of fractions, 2) procedural fluency with fractions
operations, 3) mathematical justification, and 4) motivation whether delivered in-person,
remotely, or using a blended model.Improving students’ academic outcomes and self-efficacy in the area of fractions during
elementary school will promote later success in high school mathematics. Being able to
continue high quality instruction and learning during the COVID crisis will ensure more
elementary students are better prepared for middle and high school math. Since each additional
math class students complete in high school more than doubles the odds of college completion
(Adelman, 2006), the intervention has the potential to make a real difference in whether
students achieve sustainable careers versus being stuck in low-wage jobs.Project NarrativeFractions knowledge in the fifth grade strongly predicts high school math performance,
even when controlling for working memory, whole number knowledge, IQ, reading ability, and
demographic factors (Siegler et al., 2012). Intervention in this essential content area will
improve students’ math ability in the short and long term, which in turn will lead to several
positive distal outcomes, such as greater high school graduation rates and college attendance.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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